18. April 2019 · Comments Off on Chinese Medicine, A 5000 Year History · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

Traditional Chinese medicine in Jacksonville, more simply known as TCM has a history of over 4000 years but is taken until quite recently for the techniques to catch on outside China. Still, these days combining TCM with Western diagnosis and treatments is growing in popularity around the world.

China’s 5000 years of history gave birth to the extensive and profound culture of traditional Chinese medicine. It is seen as one of the most valuable treasures of Chinese civilization. It was said that a man named Xiandi taught people how to cultivate and harvest crops more than 4000 years ago. He was called Shennong, the god of agriculture.

Beyond just introducing farming, Xiandi also experimented with all these plants to see whether some of them could cure diseases. This is the origin of traditional Chinese medicine, also called TCM, for short. Wu Honzhou, curator of the Shanghai Museum of TCM says, “People accumulated valuable experiences in the fight against diseases. More than 2000 years ago, they started summing it up in documents, which became the theory of traditional Chinese medicine. On the basis of these theories, TCM has continued to develop.”

Considered the grand master of TCM, Bien Chie made a very special contribution to its development. Living in the fourth century, Bien Chiedrew upon all he had learned from his predecessors and created a unique method of medical diagnosis based on four principle techniques. The first is wang, meaning observing. The second is wen, which is a bit more complex. The character for wen actually has two meanings with the same pronunciation, which in English translates into smelling or hearing and wen means inquiring.

The final technique is called chie meaning feeling. TCM physician Wu Yaoqing says that, “Since people show different complexions were different diseases, smelling or hearing makes a diagnosis by judging different smells or sounds of the sick. For example, the smell of vomit or the sound of your breath can tell what is wrong with your body. Inquiring is to talk with the patient about things like physical condition, reviews symptoms or previous health records. Feeling is used by checking your pulse.”

Internal medicine had been well-developed long before surgery. Since people believed their parents created their bodies, they didn’t have the right to damage them. As a result, TCM surgery practices developed very slowly. Perhaps, most famous of all early surgeons was Hua Tuo who lived in the second century. Hua Tuo was not only good that diagnosing and prescribing medicine or acupuncture, he also had a profound understanding of surgery.

The famous novel, “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” tells a grand tale of his superb medical skills. One of the heroes in the novel, Guan Yu, was wounded in his right arm by a poisoned arrow. The poisoned quickly seeped in. Soon Guan could no longer feel his arm and the hero’s life was in jeopardy. Hua Tuo made an incision. He cut all the way to Guan’s bone and scraped away the infection. Soon Guan Yu recovered from his injury.

Mr. Wu added, “There was a famous surgeon named Hua Tuo in the second century. It was said that he was capable of operating abdominal surgeries. Hua Tuo also used Ma feisan, kind of herbal medicine that functioned as an anesthetic.”

Acupuncture is another type of TCM with a long history in China. Nobody knows exactly when people began to use acupuncture to release pain. It was said that primitive men found that occasionally using something with a sharp point to stimulate somewhere on your body could help ease pain elsewhere. More than 1000 years ago, a famous man named Wang Wei Yi formalized the practice.

He made two bronze acupuncture figures for teaching and practicing. From that point on, the techniques has flourished into a modern form still widely practiced today. Even today, as Shanghai is rapidly modernizing, more and more people are attracted by TCM. Mr. Hoop is one of them. He likes acupuncture very much. Visiting TCM doctors is always part of his busy schedule.

Mr. Hoop says, “We find more and more that the combination of the two types of medicine is very helpful so we start understanding the advantages of Chinese medicine, in particular, acupressure and acupuncture, which is very popular in Europe. Since we’re now here for business in Shanghai, I thought we could take the opportunity to also visit a traditional Chinese pharmacy shop and also get some small treatment from a Chinese doctor,and have him analyze what is good and what is not so good with our body and health.”

Nowadays, people believe that the combination of Chinese and Western medicine is a good way to cure diseases, but Western medicine triggered a lot of different opinions in the medical field when it was introduced into China in the 19th century. According to Mr. Wu, “Some people firmly believed in Western medicine, which was unfortunate. Western medicine is subject and a science, as well. Some people approved of it and thus denied traditional Chinese medicine. We considered it as a kind of nihilism for the nation. Others had the view that we should combine both medicines, and that became widely accepted at the time.”

While the popularity of TCM continues to grow, we must keep in mind its historical tradition. First, we inherit it and then we may continue to develop the art of TCM. By combining both Chinese and Western medicine, we may just find more ways to help cure people’s physical problems.

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